Tuesday, 24 November 2009

More about Java Closures

Surprize, surprize! Hear, hear!
One year ago, Mark Reinhold, Principal Engineer at Sun Microsystems, announced At the Devoxx conference in Antwerp, Belgium that the next major release of Java, JDK 7, would not include closures. At the same conference this year, however, Reinhold announced in a surprise turn around the Java would be getting closures after all in JDK 7.*

More specifically, they adopt the BGGA proposal (look here) but without the non-local return (look here) and control invocation statements. This leaves Java without any destructor or C# style using statements support!

What can I say? I can only reinstate what I said in my previous post: comparing to the development of the C# language (look here ** for an interesting inteview about LINQ and its supporting language features) the Java language looks increasingly mouldy (ouch!!!).

But maybe I'm mistaken? maybe there will be some support for modern ressource management in Java but it's decoupled from the closure proposal? Let's hope so.

Update: well, I didn't hope in vain, there will be a feature for this: Automatic Ressource Management (see here)!!! Moreover, we'll got a little bit of type inference for the right hand generic expressions with new (as Google Collections provides it) with a "diamond" operator (?) <>, and strings in the switch statement (as in Groovy). All in all you cannot complain, I'd say, and some bloggers (ehm...) shouldn't be too quick to bash Java 7!

* I found the news here: http://www.artima.com/forums/flat.jsp?forum=276&thread=274496
** http://www.infoq.com/interviews/LINQ-Erik-Meijer, BTW I found an interesting quote of general interest there:

Actually, if you look at where I'm going, I'm getting more and more into old school object orientation with interfaces and so on, going away from functional programming. If you are passing a high order function you are passing one thing, one closure. If you're passing an interface or a class, you are passing many because you are passing a whole V table. These can all be recursive and so on. I'm rediscovering object oriented programming and I feel that maybe I wasted some of my time doing functional programming and missed out on objects.

You see, it's not only the functional programminch which is gonna be the Big Next Thing! I think that we cannot just condemn OO and go all for the functional. OO has its merits when structuring code, and a hybrid OO/functional approach seems to be a good thing to me!

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